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Poundworld reprieve as founder looks set to step in

Chris Edwards used the preferred communication method of America's president to confirm (third-party) he is interested in acquiring 200 of the discount chain's 335 shops
Poundworld reprieve as founder looks set to step in
A bygone era: Queues in front of a Poundworld store

The founder of Poundworld is reportedly in discussions with Deloitte, the discount chain’s administrator, with a view to taking on 200 of the troubled group’s 335 stores.

According to ITV News’ Joel Hills, Chris Edwards believes the business shouldn’t be in the predicament in which it finds itself and that its current plight is “totally down to bad management”.

Poundworld fell into administration earlier after talks with a potential buyer, R Capital, collapsed, putting 5,100 jobs at risk. The shops will continue to trade for the foreseeable future.

Deloitte joint administrator Clare Boardman said: "Like many High Street retailers, Poundworld has suffered from high product cost inflation, decreasing footfall, weaker consumer confidence and an increasingly competitive discount retail market.

"The retail trading environment in the UK remains extremely challenging and Poundworld has been seeking to address this through a restructure of its business.

"Unfortunately, this has not been possible."

Founded 44 years ago

Founded in 1974 in Wakefield, by father and son team Chris Edwards Sr and Chris Edwards Jr, the company was the original bargain retailer.

The family sold a majority share of the business back in 2015 to private equity group TPG.

A TPG spokesperson said: “This was a difficult decision for every party involved. We invested in Poundworld because of our belief in how the company serves its customers and the strength of its employees.

“Despite investing resources to strengthen the business, the decline in UK retail and changing consumer behaviour affected Poundworld significantly.”

Slew of household names hit

The value retailer is one of a slew of household names to be hit by changing trends on the High Street and specifically the rise of online retailers such as Amazon.

Last week, House of Fraser said it would be shutting more than half its department stores. Toys R Us and Maplin, meanwhile, were placed into administration earlier this year.

The slowing footfall along once busy shopping parades and malls has been felt outside the sector with restaurant Italian chains Carluccios and Prezzo shutting outlets.

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